Webinar Recap: Control Costs and Modernize Federal Databases

July 11, 2022

With government mandates such as the Modernizing Government Technology Act in the books already and newly introduced bills such as the Legacy IT Reduction Act of 2022 up for discussion, federal agencies across the government are actively seeking ways to modernize aging legacy infrastructure while controlling costs. 

And it’s no wonder: across the federal government, agencies depend on applications that have been continually operating for decades (in some cases since the 1960s!). While modernization efforts have been ongoing for such applications, progress is often stalled by misconceptions around the challenges of migrating legacy infrastructure.

Recently, EDB participated in a webinar entitled “Control Costs and Modernize Federal Databases,” hosted by Carahsoft and also featuring Trilogy Innovations to discuss in depth:

  • The challenges federal agencies face
  • The value database migration can provide
  • Why agencies should consider Postgres
  • How agencies can minimize migration disruption and accelerate migration timelines

In this post, we’ll capture key highlights of the discussion, but we recommend watching the presentation in its entirety to get all the details.


The need for modernization

When considering systems to prioritize for infrastructure modernization efforts, federal agencies need to consider a number of factors, such as system age, size, scope, availability and performance requirements. Some areas of the government—for example the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service—have systems that date back as far as the 1960s or 1970s. In fact, 20- or 30-year old systems are not uncommon across the rest of the federal government.

While most of these systems have undergone some level of evolution over the years, such efforts vary widely in terms of scope and impact, leaving many systems running on aged infrastructures or relying on outdated architectures and designs. Many older systems were designed around limitations such as storage considerations that no longer apply, resulting in overly complex or poorly performing structures. By replacing the underlying database with a modern foundation such as PostgreSQL, agencies can eliminate the complexity of those now-irrelevant limitations. The result is faster performance and more resilient applications that better serve the needs of a modern government.

Database migration supports seasonal and long-term success

In government, many vital systems have some level of seasonality built into them, where the system experiences some form of peak usage for a short period of time—like tax season, or annual registration and updates to a system. As recently as 2003, if you were building such a database, you would spec out hardware to match the size and performance requirements of your application during peak activity. For a large, enterprise-class database, such hardware investments could be expensive, requiring you to invest in a mainframe or a supercomputer. The result would leave you with a system appropriately provisioned for two weeks or a month out of every year and grossly over-provisioned the remainder of the time.

Today, not only can that same system be built (or re-architected) using commodity hardware to control costs, it will achieve extraordinary performance in comparison to the supercomputers of just a few years ago. In addition, agencies can save even more money by taking advantage of cloud technology to right-size their environments in accordance with the expected seasonality, leaving the system perfectly provisioned throughout the year.Migrating to more agile database solutions like Postgres affords agencies the flexibility to remove unnecessary constraints, maintain the dynamic needs of their systems and reduce total cost of ownership, ensuring their ability to achieve, whether on a seasonal basis or year-round.

Why Postgres?

Like any company facing a recession, government agencies are under the gun to find ways to lower costs. That’s why many of them are moving away from expensive legacy database vendors with exorbitant licensing models and turning to equally powerful, but significantly cheaper open source options solutions like Postgres. 

With 30 years of development behind it, Postgres offers agencies the reliability, feature robustness and performance they need without the exorbitant costs a proprietary database brings. Agencies get enterprise scale for their mission-critical applications at a fraction of the cost. 

Meanwhile, the large and active Postgres community helps to ensure consistent, quality advancements to core database capabilities. Postgres also enables agencies to build in future flexibility as it supports any environment, including:

  • Public Cloud IaaS
  • Public Cloud DBaaS
  • Private cloud
  • Virtual machines
  • Containers


Minimize database migration disruption

One of the big inhibitors to infrastructure modernization is the perceived difficulty of database migration. In this webinar, our speakers explored in depth the wealth of resources available to simplify the migration and minimize disruption. EDB Postgres Advanced Server for example, includes SQL compatibility for legacy databases, enabling agencies to preserve investments in existing workloads.

In fact, EDB offers a number of migration accelerators, including features like:

  • Built-in compatibility around datatypes, Oracle Data Dictionary, drivers, PL/SQL and more
  • An OCI-compatible driver so you won’t need to change your applications’ connection to the database
  • The Database Migration Toolkit to help move your data in bulk, or a simple process for using a replication server to move data from Oracle or SQL Server into Postgres
  • The EDB Migration Portal to migrate your schema and help agencies understand how much manual work will be needed and how much of the migration will be taken care of through native compatibility or repaired through repair handlers

We’ve captured the highlights of the webinar in this post, but there is so much more to learn. 


Check out the full webinar to get the details on any of the points that interest you, as well as to learn more about the EDB Migration Portal.

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